The Red Sox picked up right where they left off before the All-Star break in the Yankees’ first trip to Fenway Park this season. The Sox grinded out a 4-2 win on Friday night and will have arguably their best pitcher going in game two of the series. John Lackey welcomes Hiroki Kuroda to Fenway Park in what should be an excellent pitching matchup between the Yankees and Red Sox. Boston opens as -155 favorites with a total listed at 9.5.
A year after missing the entire season due to arm surgery, Lackey has put together one of his best seasons since he broke onto the scene as a rookie in 2002 with the Anaheim Angels. Lackey has posted just a 7-6 record despite pitching for the team with the best record in baseball and putting up an ERA of 2.78 and a WHIP of 1.14. Lackey was dominant once again in his last outing before the All-Star break when he opposed Jarrod Parker in Oakland.
Lackey hasn’t faced New York yet this season but the Yankees’ lineup has had plenty of experience against the big right-hander. Current Yankees have combined for over 500 career at-bats against Lackey but many of them come from players that remain injured for the beaten-up Bombers. Mark Teixeira and Ichiro Suzuki have had the greatest success against Lackey of all the Yankees batters. Teixeira is out for the season and Ichiro’s numbers came primarily when he was still on top of his game out in the AL West when his Mariners would routinely battle Lackey’s Angels. The table seems set for Lackey to have a good outing against a short-handed Yankee lineup.
With some struggles from CC Sabathia this season, Hiroki Kuroda has stepped up to flourish as the Yankee’s ace despite turning 38 years of age. The veteran Japanese right-hander has posted an ERA of 2.65 this season with a WHIP of just over 1. The Red Sox have had some career success against Kuroda – hitting .294 as a team led by Dustin Pedroia who has eight career hits in 18 at-bats against Kuroda. Look for Kuroda to come out rested after the All-Star break and looking to continue his stellar season thus far.
The total in this game is rather confusing. Two great pitchers going at each other against lineups that lack pop at times (at least New York). The Red Sox pride themselves on on-base percentage and extending innings and Kuroda won’t give up anything easy. Expect both pitchers to force the other team to hit their pitches – something I’m not sure either lineup will do with any sort of sustained success. Neither pitcher is used to getting much run support so I don’t expect a very high-scoring game. This total is way too high. Take the under and I make this a larger play than average.
Free Pick: New York/Boston Under 9.5
Boston Red Sox • hiroki kuroda • john lackey • New York Yankees